Why is no one asking the bigger question about why, in the first place we need to import workers from other countries who speak no english when only 44% of Americans are working full-time jobs as a percentage of the adult population, 18 years and older? It seems like the government is setting these foreign workers up for potential abuse by employers who clearly are looking for a way to circumvent traditional hiring practices. 

The top federal official for worker safety said Tuesday that an Illinois businessman’s “outrageous behavior” of bringing in Mexican workers to remove asbestos without safety gear warrants fines of nearly $1.8 million.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration levied the fines Monday. Investigators found Joseph Kehrer, Kehrer Brothers Construction and a Kehrer-affiliated company, D7 Roofing, exposed at least eight workers to asbestos in violation of federal health standards.

“This case stands out because of the outrageous behavior of Joseph Kehrer,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels. Workers were threatened with firing if they spoke to investigators, Michaels said.

“They spoke no English. He drove to them to jobs,” Michaels said. “He set up a housing camp for them. They were at his mercy.”

A phone message left for Kehrer seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Kehrer had workers removing asbestos-containing materials during renovation of a former school in Okawville, about 45 miles southeast of St. Louis. Many of the workers came to the United States to work for Kehrer under a special visa program that allows companies to hire foreign workers temporarily, according to OSHA.

Breathing asbestos fibers can increase the risk of cancer.

It’s unclear whether the workers will be able to find other work in the United States, Michaels said. “These workers will carry this increased cancer risk for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Via: Latino FOX News

Join The Conversation: Leave a Comment